Recently, I haven’t had any urge to watch movies. So when my dad said, “Hey, let’s watch The Book of Eli,” I said, “I don’t really feel like it.” Needless to say, I ended up watching it anyway. I went in with only the knowledge that the story took place in a post-apocalyptic world that looked eerily similar to Fallout. The only review I had seen was from At the Movies, minutes before I left – one “See It,” one “Skip It.”
The Book of Eli starts off in a forest of burned trees and ash, the corpse of a man lies on the ground, having shot himself in the head. A starving cat stalks towards the body, looking around to make sure there are no other predators larger than itself. Confirming that it is alone, it starts to feast. Rested against a tree, the audience sees a body, face covered by a gas-mask. The chest barely moves, but within moments the figure shoots an arrow, instantly killing the cat – dinner. This is Eli.
The audience learns that the book Eli is carrying is a copy of the King James Bible, supposedly the last copy. When he arrives in town, and literally decapitates about ten men who pick a fight with him, Carnegie, the owner of the bar, founder of the town, and collector of books, asks Eli to stay, in return giving him water, housing, and women. Eli refuses, but Carnegie “insists” he stay the night, sending Solara to “persuade” him. Although Eli does not take the offer, Carnegie has threatened to hurt Solara’s mother unless he stays; he lets her stay the night and offers her food, reciting a prayer before they eat. When Solara recites the prayer the next day, Carnegie hunts down Eli, with a simple offer: book or death.
Denzel Washington, Mila Kunis, and Gary Oldman put on amazing performances. One of my problems with a lot of action movies is the appearance of the actor; I want my heroes ripped, I want my chicks hot, I want my villains, well, villainy. The Book of Eli delivers. Washington, while not the most studdliest individual, certainly fits my idea of a hero in a post-apocalyptic setting. Eli, in his lone wolf nature, has survival skills far superior to any mere human, but also has emotions that, no matter how hard he tries, he cannot completely get rid of. Washington, needless to say, successfully portrays Eli on the screen.
Ever since That 70’s Show, Milla Kunis has been hot (I’m sure she was before that too, but I wouldn’t know). I loved her inForgetting Sarah Marshall and hated everything in the film adaptation of Max Payne, so I wasn’t quite sure what to think when I saw her as Solara in The Book of Eli. Kunis, while more suited for comedy, vastly exceeded her performance in Max Payne. That might not be saying much, but I was happy watching her on film. When the film needed obnoxious, she was obnoxious, when it needed pain, she gave us pain, and when the film needed a hottie, Kunis definitely played the hottie.
Batman, Harry Potter, and Call of Duty are just some of the places you might know Gary Oldman from. Oldman plays Carnegie, and unlike his performances in the works I just mentioned, is a pretty evil character. Carnegie stops at nothing to get the book from Eli, and Oldman portrays the crazed individual well. Oldman gives a top-notch performance, showing off his skills accumulated over his career.
From the commercials, all you really learn is that Carnegie really wants the book, and Eli really doesn’t want to give it to him. They don’t show the audience a whole lot of action. Within the first five minutes of the film is one of the coolest action sequences I’ve seen, a group of hijackers attack Eli, but he pulls out a machete and, in samurai-fashion, kills the attackers in mere seconds. The action is a combination of cowboy style shoot outs and samurai sword play. The fights are mostly one-sided, with Eli killing most, if not all, of the attackers, but keep you wanting more of the gruesome stuff.
Although there were many small mistakes that I nitpick at, there was only one “flaw” with the movie. A huge twist at the end coupled with an element of supernatural abilities is very cool, but doesn’t really fit in with the overall story. In a world bound in realism, Eli seems supernatural which isn’t explained using science, leaving the audience to assume he is protected somehow by the bible he carries. While some may be fine with this idea, I didn’t think it worked well in the world it was a part of.
Overall, The Book of Eli is a definite “See It.” The action is sweet, the actors perform well, and the story is just plain awesome. While 2009 was filled with lackluster films (New Moon not being one of them), The Book of Eli kicks off 2010 with an awesome start.
Ratings for The Book of Eli
Rating (out of 10 )
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